Tips For Hiking With Your Small Dog

Hiking with your small dog is lots of fun - for both of you! 

Here are our tips to make it a perfect day together in the great outdoors

hiking with small dogs - tips & gear

Hiking with your small dog is a great way to change up the daily routine of of the same ol' dog walk around your same ol' neighborhood.

You'll both appreciate the change of scenery - and one of you will appreciate all the new smells!

Even small dogs love adventure, so here's our guide to help ensure you have fun and successful hikes - together.


Basic Hiking Gear For Small Dogs

You really don’t need anything fancy for hiking with pets- but having the basics will make you both more comfortable and happier:

  1. Dog Carrier
    Those little legs can get tired - fast. And in case of emergency, you're responsible for getting your pup back to safety. Clip the small and light PocoPet Ultralight Dog Travel Carrier to your backpack and you'll be ready for anything.

  2. Travel Bowls
    We talked above about bringing food & water for your dog - don't forget something to serve it in! Our collapsable travel dog bowls take up minimal space, and weigh just 2 ounces each.

  3. Booties
    If the terrain is extremely rocky, snowy or icy, booties will protect your dog's paws while dealing with difficult terrain.
    Tip: practice at home to get your dog used to wearing booties.

  4. Goggles
    Think of them as sunglasses that actually stay on your dog's head! If you're hiking in high altitude, or on a very sunny blue-sky day, you need to protect their eyes the same as you protect yours. Rex Specs is the trusted leader in dog eye protection, with a variety of sizes and colors to fit your pup perfectly.


Choosing The Right Trail

You want to make sure you both have fun - so it's important to pick the right hike.

Honestly assess both the physical condition you're both in, and search for hikes near you at that level. 

Remember: the only trophy waiting at the end of the day is a satisfied human & pup - so there's no need to be a superhero! 

Enjoying a flat walk along a river is 100% equal to a strenuous hike up a craggy high peak. The only goal is to enjoy nature and physical activity together.

Tip: Make sure dogs are allowed on the trail you choose!


Start With a Short Hike

Small dogs are just as brave as large dogs, but do have physical limitations...

While some little pups can leap and jump over boulders and downed trees, most others will need your help getting past these types of obstacles. 

Similarly, most dogs can swim, but crossing a stream deeper than their little legs can pose a serious threat of sweeping downstream!

Starting with a shorter trail while hiking with pets helps you can assess what your furball can confidently handle. After the first hike, you can increase the mileage and difficulty as needed.


Food & Water

It's important you both stay hydrated and fueled up, so while you're packing your lunch don't forget about your furry BFF, too.

Make sure you bring enough water for your both (and pack extra on hot days), and pack their regular food for a trail lunch. Yummy treats will keep them motivated when the going gets hard, so be sure to pack their favs. If the trail is difficult, pack extra calories to keep them energized. 


Take Frequent Breaks

Small dogs tend to overheat quicker than big dogs, due to less fat reserves and higher metabolic rate.

In addition, their shorter legs have to take more steps than bigger breeds, causing their body to heat up faster.

So keep your hike shorter with plenty of cool-down breaks for these guys.


Remember to always make decisions with your dog's capabilities in mind - and be extra supportive of them along the way - and you're guaranteed a hike filled with doggie smiles. 

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